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2013-11-14

BEC marks 75 years

Contributed

Bandera Electric Cooperative celebrated its 75th anniversary Nov. 12. The original charter was signed on this day in history, three-quarters of a century ago allowing BEC to provide power to the homes and ranches of the Texas Hill Country.
It all began with the hard work of nine men: Raymond Hicks, Bandera; Capt. Thomas P. Grant, Tarpley; JJ Leighton, Vanderpool; AH Schott, Pipe Creek; EH Sewell, Medina; Stafford Smith, Utopia; Floyd Prue, Pipe Creek; Dr. JO Butler, Bandera; and PL Garrison Sr., Medina.
Soon after their pioneering efforts, these men were elected by their communities to represent them on the Bandera Electric Cooperative, Inc., Board of Directors. The men worked with representatives of the Rural Electrification Administration, formed in 1935 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to create a co-op that would supply power to the rural countryside of the Hill Country.
In March 1939, BEC received a loan from the REA to provide power to about 400 farms and ranches along 200 miles of line. While the building and expansion began slowly, in December 1939, power began to flow to fewer than 10 members in the Pipe Creek area, and BEC was finally in the business of providing a better life for its members.
In the past 75 years, BEC has expanded to seven counties, serving more than 23,000 members along approximately 4,500 miles of line. But the spirit that lives in the co-op has not changed. Your cooperative still has a mission to enhance quality of life while maintaining quality and reliable service.
To honor its past and make tribute to its future, BEC created a time capsule. Employees wrote a statement of their vision of the future of BEC in the next 25 years. The capsule will be opened on BEC's100th anniversary, and the visions will be read.
In addition to the time capsule tribute, BEC is also composing a commemorative coffee table book for its 75th anniversary and is asking for pictures or stories that might be beneficial. Anyone with stories about the electrification of the Hill Country or pictures of BEC in action through the years should contact Brianna Goodloe at 866-226-3372 by Nov. 22.